Lapak Jhapak Tu Aa Re Badarawa
Film: Boot Polish (1954)
Music: Shankar- Jaikishan
Singer: Manna Dey
Anyone who has seen the movie Boot Polish will not forget Lapak Jhapak Tu Aa Re Badarawa- a song based on a classical melody but picturised and portrayed in such a funny and comic manner. The old bald man- David (who has just entered the jail- cell that very day) is sitting in the midst of his jail-mates (most of them baldies themselves!) and singing Lapak Jhapak Tu Aa Re Badarawa. He is pleading to the rain-Gods,
Sar Ki Kheti Suukh Rahi Hai
Baras Baras Tu Kaare Badarawa. (My scalp is turning into a dry barren field, so o dark cloud you please bring on the rains!)
Just a moment ago, a professor among those jailbirds- (who was jailed for making a faulty and fraudulent hair-growth formula!)- had put forth his profound ‘philosophy’ about ‘scientific’ connection of ‘Ghatayen’(Dark rain-clouds) and ‘Jatayen’ (Thick hair) and David is desperately trying out the musical formula to bring in the rains a la Tansen, in order to get hair on his bald scalp!
To listen to the origin of this song from singer Manna Dey himself is a treat. In his inimitable manner, Manna Da says, “One day I had gone for a rehearsal in Dadar’s Ranjit Movietone for a song composed by Mahendra Singh. After I finished my work, I came across Raj Kapoor (who was busy shooting with Nargis in the same studio), who immediately made me come to his set and started discussing about music. It was his routine habit. He was practically inseparable from music. He asked me- “Manna Da, Yeh Malhar Kya Cheez Hai?” (Manna Da, what is this thing called Malhar?) I explained to him that Malhar was a raga which was associated with rainy-season. He then made me sing some notes of Malhar and commented- “Oh, Bade Gahre Gambheer Sur Hain!” (Oh, these are very deep and serious musical notes.) He also told me that somewhere down the line he intended to use those notes in his film-song!
Within four days, I got a call from RK-camp. When I went there, Shankar, Jaikishan, Raj –saab, Hasrat Jaipuri- everyone was present. There I was astonished to see (character artist) David and asked him, “David Chacha, Aap Kya Kar Hain Yahan?” (David Uncle, What are you doing here?) He retorted – “Tujhe maloom nahi- Tu mere liye gaa raha hai?” (Don’t you know you are called to give playback for me?)
“That announcement came to me as a shock. Singing for David? What kind of song is it?” But when I heard the tune, I realized that Raj-saab had thought over those Malhar-notes and he had made Shankar- Jaikishan compose a song using the beauty of that raga but dispensing with the serious, somber mood making it easy for common listeners to enjoy that number.”
Pointing out to the funnily rendered ‘Na dhin dhin dha’ interjections in that song, Manna Da says, “This was sung by Raj-saab himself. So engrossed did he become in that recording that he himself joined in the song.”
Reminiscing about that golden era, Manna Da said, “That was the team- spirit of that era where everybody contributed their bit in creation of those songs. That kind of creativity, effort and dedication went into the making of songs in those days and that’s why listeners still remember them till today!”